MINNEAPOLIS — Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was in the Twins’ lineup Friday, one day after he was recalled from Triple-A Rochester.
Arcia was batting fifth and playing left field for Friday’s series opener against the Houston Astros at Target Field. He was promoted from Rochester after the Twins optioned pitcher Scott Diamond and outfielder Aaron Hicks following Thursday’s loss.
“From the first day I got back to Rochester, I just started working hard again,” Arcia said through his translator, first baseman Chris Colabello. “I got back in the lineup, started feeling confident right away. Obviously I wasn’t there for very long. Thanks to God, I feel good and am ready to go.”
In 59 games in the majors this year, Arcia batted .257 with six homers and 25 RBI. But he struggled at times, especially once opposing pitchers figured out how to pitch to him. In 12 games in July, Arcia hit just .159 with 17 strikeouts in 44 at-bats, which led to yet another trip to Rochester.
Since his demotion back to Triple A in mid-July, Arcia batted .375 with four home runs and 13 RBI in 13 games. Those numbers helped earn him a trip back up to the majors for the fourth time this season.
“He’s been swinging very good,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Arcia. “He made some real nice plays in the outfield. He was playing a little bit more right field down there, running the ball down good. Everything was going well.”
The demotion of Hicks means the Twins have only one viable option in centerfield, that being Clete Thomas. Friday marked Thomas’ 45th game with Minnesota this season, and his 23rd game in center field.
Entering Friday’s game, Thomas is batting .228 with four homers and a .303 on-base percentage.
“He’s come a long ways,” Gardenhire said. “He’s shortened his swing. He puts the ball in play better. He’s doing well. I’m happy to have him.”
Twins take extra fielding practice: One day after a 7-2 loss and a series sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals, Gardenhire had his team out on the field early for extra work.
The Twins usually take the field by around 4:15 p.m. CT but were out stretching well before that Friday.
“Just get them out early, get the bad taste of that game out of the way,” Gardenhire said. “It wasn’t very much fun for anybody involved. We were pretty sloppy. Just go out there, reinforce and also talk about a few things we needed to do and what we’d like to see from here on out.”
Willingham readies for rehab assignment: Twins outfielder Josh Willingham hasn’t played since June 30 due to arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, but he could join Triple-A Rochester for a rehab assignment as early as Monday.
Willingham took extra swings on the field after the rest of the Twins were done with batting practice, and said everything felt fine with his knee. He’s still wearing a brace on the left knee but has been running the past 10 days with no issues.
“I think I’m all the way back up to 10 mph,” Willingham joked. “I haven’t run the bases, just done outfield shagging and running in the outfield. . . . I think we’ll run the bases tomorrow.”
In 70 games prior to his surgery, Willingham was batting .224 with 10 home runs and 37 RBI.